Five Things to Keep in Mind If Your Child Has Been Injured in a Car Accident
If your child is injured in a car accident, it can be an extremely emotional and heart wrenching experience. However, it can also be very expensive. To help cover the cost of medical bills, care for your child, and other expenses, you may need additional help.
Luckily, there are ways to get compensation by taking the at-fault driver to court. Here's what you need to know:
1. Defining the At-Fault Driver
In most cases, when you take a driver to court over injuries sustained in a car crash, you take the driver of the other vehicle involved in the crash. However, that is not the only party who can bear responsibility. If your child was driving with another child's parent or a friend and that individual caused the car crash, you can take him or her to court over the injuries your child has sustained.
Similarly, if a driver hit your child while he or she was riding his or her bicycle or playing, you can also take that driver to court.
2. Understanding When Insurance Won't Pay
In most cases, when you make a claim against an at-fault driver, his or her insurance company pays out the claim. To make this possible, all drivers in Australia are required to have Compulsory Third Party insurance or CTP.
However, in some cases, insurance companies are legally allowed to deny claims. This includes cases where the driver was unlicensed, where no one reported the accident to the police, or even in cases of poor car maintenance. If any of these situations or similar ones apply to the at-fault driver, his or her insurance may refuse to pay the claim.
If that happens, you need to be prepared to work with a car accident attorney and take that person to court.
3. Considering the Role of Contributory Negligence
When you take another driver to court for causing an injury to your child, they may use a range of defenses to fight the charge. However, one defense they may use relates to contributory negligence. This defense claims that the defendant is not the only negligent party involved, and that you (the plaintiff) contributed to the negligence.
For example, in legal cases regarding car accidents involving children, contributory negligence retorts may deal with car seats. If your child wasn't in the correct car seat, facing the correct way, with his or her straps and buckles adjusted appropriately, that may have made his or her injuries worse. As a result, the defendant may argue that he or she cannot legally be held responsible for all of the injuries that occurred to your child.
So that you can weather these accusations easily in court, your lawyer will work with you to identify potential contributory negligence claims and figure out how to fight them.
4. Utilising Children's Special Benefits
Winning a legal case can take some time, and unfortunately, when your child is injured, you typically need money right away. You may need money for medical appointments, paying for extra childcare, purchasing walking aids or medications, or a range of other expenses.
To help while you wait, you need to investigate whether or not your state has any special programs for children who have been hurt in a car accident. A car accident lawyer is a great resource to ask about these services, as he or she works closely with accident victims every day.
For example, New South Wales offers a Children's Special Benefit program. Reserved for children under the age of 16 who have been in a car accident, these benefits cover costs related to hospitals, medical care, rehab, medication and attendant care expenses.
5. Factoring in Additional Costs
When you start to think about compensation, it's important to consider all of the ways the accident has affected your life. Don't just take the at-fault driver to court for medical bills and attendant care expenses. Also, consider how much work you had to miss to care for your child, and think about other expenses as well. For example, if your child lost a sport scholarship because of the injury, you may want to pursue compensation for that as well.